You think you’ll remember everything, but you won’t. (Or you’re wiser to begin with, and know you won’t remember everything, in fact cannot remember what day it is right now, or where you put your keys, or how many times you’ve microwaved that same cup of tea today.)
I am already beginning to forget exactly what two was like, or two and a half. What did she wear, what did she say, when did she start jumping with two feet or using a three-point grip, what books were we reading, what did she play with?
Well, I’ve done a decent job keeping track of what we read when, between “what we’ve read so far” posts on this blog and LibraryThing, and I have approximately thirteen zillion pictures so I know when she wore the yellow fish shirt or the green turtle pants, and I keep a little book where I write down select quotes (“Did you know that feet can be afraid?” For the record, hers never are).
Toys, though, I have a feeling I’m not going to remember which toys she liked best at what age. And because it’s nice to remember, and also because I will probably need to give gifts to other three-year-olds years from now, I thought it’d be useful to have a record. No one has paid me to endorse any of the below products.
Art: Magna-doodle (great for car trips), Play-doh, watercolors, water-based paint, crayons (especially metallic or “gel,” which show up well on construction paper, butcher paper, cardboard, etc.)
Building: Megablox, Duplo, Marbleworks, regular wooden blocks of various shapes, Magnatiles (we play with these at the library), Brio trains, PipeWorks (cannot get this anymore, my mom saved ours from the ’80s, thank you Mom!)
Board Games: Snail’s Pace Race (also saved from the ’80s but I think they still make it), Friends & Neighbors, Hoot Owl Hoot, matching/memory, Go Fish. (Hoot Owl Hoot and Friends & Neighbors are from Peaceable Kingdom, which makes cooperative rather than competitive games), Candyland
Literacy: Acorn Soup (it has “recipes”), Zingo, board books with nursery rhymes
Pretend/Dress-Up: Food/cooking things (play food, sturdy teacups, teapot, apron, Bake-and-Decorate Cupcake Set, little plates, pots and pans, etc.); Doctor or Pet Vet sets (we play with these at the library); firefighter costume; various twirly skirts/tutus
Puzzles/STEM: 24-piece Imaginarium Discovery wooden blocks color puzzle (this is the BEST), any wooden puzzle with 20-30 pieces if it’s in a wooden frame, oversize floor puzzles (e.g. Its-Bitsy Spider, fire truck, Madeline), the gear toy from Plan Toys, stacking/nesting cups (still!)
It really is true that kids have their own unique interests and develop their skills accordingly. Ours loves art, but is much more interested in color than in any kind of representative drawing; we’re still nowhere near coloring books or even stick figures, but painting is fun. She’s not particularly interested in cars or trucks or Things That Go (though she’ll read books about them). She likes kitchen things (real and pretend) and building things and has been into puzzles from a pretty early age; I’m guessing that in a few years she’ll be able to bake a simple cake on her own, and a few years after that she’ll be helping her dad with those thousand-piece jigsaw puzzles. And she loves the chess set at the library…